A couple of days ago Google officially presented Android 4.2, the new software version of Google’s mobile operating system, which sticks to the name of Jelly Bean and which will debut in November on the new Nexus line-up: the Nexus 10 and Nexus 7 tablets and the new LG Nexus 4 smartphone.
The new features and improvements brought by Android 4.2 Jelly Bean are pretty numerous, but, on the other hand, some of them have the role to enhance the way the user is interacting with the Android devices, without introducing major innovations, and this is one of the reasons for Android 4.2 bears the same codename as Android 4.1.
Let’s have a look at some of the most important changes and new features introduced by the freshly-announced Android 4.2.
There’s a Quick Settings option in the Notifications area of Android, that now allows you to quickly change certain settings of your device, like turning the WiFi on or off, or change the display brightness. This features might sound familiar, as you can already find it in the proprietary Samsung TouchWiz and HTC Sense user interfaces.
Another interesting feature of Android 4.2 is the new Swipe keyboard, that introduces typing using gestures. Even though it’s not a premiere for Android, this type of keyboard comes out of the box in Android 4.2, and it will allow the user to type by simply “swiping” from one letter to another and form words, while the Android dictionary will try to make the best predictions. The concept is works in a way similar to the Swipe app, that now becomes useless.
But the Android 4.2 feature that got me, is the new lockscreen that allows widgets. So, great news for the widget power-users, as you will now be able to add and access your favorite tools directly from the lockscreen. You will no longer have to unlock your smartphone if you want to access a certain widget.
It was rumored that Android 4.2 will come with a new camera app and Google duly delivered. PhotoSphere is a new mode for the camera, a sort of Panorama with advanced functions that allow you to capture images in all directions (up, down, left, right).
If your HDTV is WiFi compatible, then you will no longer need cables to share content from your smartphone, courtesy of the new Android 4.2 that allows you to wirelessly play your photos, videos, or music on your TV.
The Android 4.2-powered tablets will receive the multi-user feature, that works in a similar way to how Windows accounts work. Therefore, you will be able to create several user accounts, each of them having access to a personalized list of apps, have its own background or ringtone.
The “Daydream” mode was introduced in Android 4.2 and is a function that allows the users to continuously display certain information on their devices lockscreen while the terminal is connected to a docking station, from photos to news and weather.
The pinch-to-zoom feature for GMail or triple-tap to significantly zoom in are also available in Android 4.2.
All these are some of the most important features introduced by the latest iteration of Google’s mobile operating system. Are them enough to make you update your smartphone… or maybe even switch from iOS…